Paraguay: Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC)—Data Module Volume I

OVERALL ASSESSMENT This Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC)—Data Module provides an update of the assessment conducted in February 2006, which was based on the July 2003 version of the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF). This ROSC Data Module is the first complete report based on the May 2012 vintage of the DQAF that covers six datasets, namely, national accounts (NA), consumer price index (CPI), producer price index (PPI), government finance statistics (GFS) and public sector debt statistics, monetary statistics, and balance of payments (BOP) and international investment position (IIP) statistics. The agencies that compile and disseminate these statistics are the Central Bank of Paraguay (CBP) for all datasets but GFS, which are compiled and disseminated by the Ministry of Finance (MOF). Following the 2006 ROSC Data Module mission, Paraguay made significant improvements in the compilation and dissemination of macroeconomic statistics, including (i) adequate methodological treatment of the two large binational hydroelectrical enterprises to properly reflect their contribution to Paraguay’s GDP, BOP, and other international accounts; (ii) compilation and dissemination of quarterly national accounts and integrated economic accounts for the total economy up to net lending; (iii) new CPI series (December 2007=100) and PPI series (June 2011=100), with several methodological improvements (introduction of an adequate treatment of seasonal products and use of improved estimation techniques for missing prices), among others. Paraguay participates in the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) since September 2001, and the metadata for its macroeconomic statistics are posted on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). Paraguay meets GDDS recommendations for the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data, with the following two exceptions: (i) in the financial sector, the depository corporations (DC) survey is compiled on a monthly basis with a one-month lag but is not disseminated; and (ii) in the external sector, the debt service payment schedules for both public and private external debt are not disseminated. Appendix I provides an overview of Paraguay's dissemination practices compared to the GDDS. At the request of the authorities, Paraguay’s current data dissemination practices were also reviewed against the requirements of the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). A detailed description of Paraguay current practices against the SDDS is presented in Appendix IV of the accompanying detailed assessment document (Volume III).

Abstract

OVERALL ASSESSMENT This Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC)—Data Module provides an update of the assessment conducted in February 2006, which was based on the July 2003 version of the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF). This ROSC Data Module is the first complete report based on the May 2012 vintage of the DQAF that covers six datasets, namely, national accounts (NA), consumer price index (CPI), producer price index (PPI), government finance statistics (GFS) and public sector debt statistics, monetary statistics, and balance of payments (BOP) and international investment position (IIP) statistics. The agencies that compile and disseminate these statistics are the Central Bank of Paraguay (CBP) for all datasets but GFS, which are compiled and disseminated by the Ministry of Finance (MOF). Following the 2006 ROSC Data Module mission, Paraguay made significant improvements in the compilation and dissemination of macroeconomic statistics, including (i) adequate methodological treatment of the two large binational hydroelectrical enterprises to properly reflect their contribution to Paraguay’s GDP, BOP, and other international accounts; (ii) compilation and dissemination of quarterly national accounts and integrated economic accounts for the total economy up to net lending; (iii) new CPI series (December 2007=100) and PPI series (June 2011=100), with several methodological improvements (introduction of an adequate treatment of seasonal products and use of improved estimation techniques for missing prices), among others. Paraguay participates in the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) since September 2001, and the metadata for its macroeconomic statistics are posted on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). Paraguay meets GDDS recommendations for the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data, with the following two exceptions: (i) in the financial sector, the depository corporations (DC) survey is compiled on a monthly basis with a one-month lag but is not disseminated; and (ii) in the external sector, the debt service payment schedules for both public and private external debt are not disseminated. Appendix I provides an overview of Paraguay's dissemination practices compared to the GDDS. At the request of the authorities, Paraguay’s current data dissemination practices were also reviewed against the requirements of the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). A detailed description of Paraguay current practices against the SDDS is presented in Appendix IV of the accompanying detailed assessment document (Volume III).

Overall Assessment

1. Paraguay participates in the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) since September 2001, and the metadata for its macroeconomic statistics are posted on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). Paraguay meets GDDS recommendations for the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data, with the following two exceptions: (i) in the financial sector, the depository corporations (DC) survey is compiled on a monthly basis with a one-month lag but is not disseminated; and (ii) in the external sector, the debt service payment schedules for both public and private external debt are not disseminated. Appendix I provides an overview of Paraguay’s dissemination practices compared to the GDDS.

2. This Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC)—Data Module provides an update of the assessment conducted in February 2006, which was based on the July 2003 version of the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF). This ROSC Data Module is based on the May 2012 vintage of the DQAF. The Report covers six datasets, namely, national accounts (NA), consumer price index (CPI), producer price index (PPI), government finance statistics (GFS) and public sector debt statistics, monetary statistics, and balance of payments (BOP) and international investment position (IIP) statistics. The agencies that compile and disseminate these statistics are the Central Bank of Paraguay (CBP) for all datasets but GFS, which are compiled and disseminated by the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The General Directorate of Statistics, Surveys and Census (DGEEC) is the main statistical agency, which has the responsibility of coordinating and integrating all official statistical activities, and focuses mostly on the production of demographic and social basic statistics and indicators, mainly unemployment and poverty (datasets not covered in the Report).

3. Following the 2006 ROSC Data Module mission, Paraguay made significant improvements in the compilation and dissemination of macroeconomic statistics, but some shortcomings persist. The main achievements include (i) adequate methodological treatment of the two large binational hydroelectrical enterprises to properly reflect their contribution to Paraguay’s GDP, BOP, and other international accounts; (ii) compilation and dissemination of quarterly national accounts and integrated economic accounts for the total economy up to net lending; (iii) new CPI series (December 2007=100) and PPI series (June 2011=100), with several methodological improvements (introduction of an adequate treatment of seasonal products and use of improved estimation techniques for missing prices); (iv) inclusion of credit unions in monetary statistics since end-2008, although these data are not included in domestic publications; and (v) easier data access through official websites and adoption of advance release calendars for most statistics. While recognizing these important improvements, the mission identified shortcomings in statistical practices and databases that have the potential to detract from accurate and timely analyses of economic and financial developments and the formulation of appropriate policies.

4. The remainder of this section presents the mission’s main conclusions based on its assessment using the new IMF’s DQAF 2012. The presentation is sequenced according to the DQAF’s quality dimensions, by agency for the first two dimensions and across datasets for the remaining four.

5. Legal and Institutional Environment. The compilation and dissemination of statistics by the Central Bank of Paraguay is based on a legal framework that broadly supports mandatory data reporting by the financial sector and the confidentiality of the reported data. Human resources are minimally adequate for current statistical programs and insufficient to support important developmental work, particularly related to the adoption of new international methodological guidance for the compilation of national accounts, and BOP and IIP statistics. A fundamental issue is the appropriateness of a central bank compiling price statistics, particularly in a country moving towards an inflation targeting regime. While the legislation supports the compilation and dissemination of budget and accounting data by the Ministry of Finance, the institutional responsibility for compiling and disseminating GFS by the MOF is only supported by an internal MOF provision (which at the time of the mission was under review). Procedures for data sharing and coordination within the MOF and between the MOF and other data-producing agencies need to be improved. Resources at the MOF are clearly insufficient to compile comprehensive and timely GFS, especially if the MOF decides to migrate to the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001) methodology. The Statistical Law of 1942 created the organizational structure of the official statistical services and identified the Directorate General of Statistics, Surveys, and Censuses as the main statistical agency, with the responsibility for coordinating and integrating all official statistical activities. The Law specifies the mandatory character of data reporting and data confidentiality. However, the central role that the Law confers to the DGEEC has not materialized mainly due to its lack of autonomy and insufficient human, financial, and technological resources. For example, censuses and surveys are mostly financed by external loans and grants. The DGEEC concentrates mainly on the production of basic demographic and social statistics and indicators.

6. Assurances of Integrity. The Central Bank of Paraguay is a technical institution that has administrative and normative autonomy and is independent in its choice of data sources, methods, and data dissemination policies, within the limits of available resources. Processes and activities in the workplace ensure a culture that promotes institutional integrity. The terms and conditions for compiling statistics are specified in the relevant laws, which are available to the public. The Ministry of Finance produces GFS on an impartial basis, based on a culture of professional independence. While the terms and conditions for preparing and reporting budget execution data are known to the public, the terms and conditions under which GFS are compiled are not. In both institutions, rules provide clear guidelines on staff behavior and administrative procedures, which are made known to the staff.

7. Methodological Soundness. The methodologies for price indices and monetary statistics broadly follow current international methodological standards. National accounts and BOP statistics broadly follow the System of National Accounts 1993 (1993 SNA) and the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5), respectively, and GFS are broadly in line with A Manual on Government Finance Statistics, 1986 (GFSM 1986). While a program for implementing relevant recommendations of the System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA) and the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) is under development, no migration path to GFSM 2001 has been adopted.

8. Accuracy and Reliability elements (source data, assessment of source data and statistical techniques) are, for the most part, appropriately treated in monetary statistics and to a lesser extent in price statistics. Improvements are needed in source data for all datasets, except monetary statistics, and in statistical techniques for national accounts and to a lesser extent GFS and BOP statistics. The assessment and validation of intermediate data and statistical outputs are generally adequate, but could be improved for GFS and monetary statistics.

9. Serviceability of the assessed statistics is broadly satisfactory, as confirmed by the results of a user survey conducted in the context of this assessment. Data are disseminated with the periodicity and timeliness recommended by the GDDS, with the exception of monetary statistics (where the DC survey is compiled monthly but not disseminated), and total external debt service schedule (where semiannual data covering the next four quarters and two subsequent semesters should be compiled and disseminated with a one- to two-quarters lag).1 Publicly available information permits only partial reconciliation of the statistics across datasets. Regular reconciliation of datasets and closer interagency coordination will be required to enhance the intersectoral consistency of macroeconomic statistics. Statistical agencies have well established revision policies and practices for most datasets, but these are not communicated to the public.

10. Accessibility of all official statistics, except for GFS, has improved considerably since the 2006 ROSC Data Module mission, with the adoption of advance release calendars and a more user friendly official website at the CBP that permits easier retrieval of statistics. Metadata posted on national websites are not easily available for most datasets, and the metadata posted on the IMF’s DSBB had not been updated since November 2004, despite significant changes made in the compilation and dissemination processes for most datasets during the past ten years.2 Statistics are released simultaneously to all users, but assistance to users could also be improved for most datasets, for example, by providing sector-specific contact information.

11. At the request of the authorities, Paraguay’s current data dissemination practices were also reviewed against the requirements of the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).3 A detailed description of Paraguay current practices against the SDDS is presented in Appendix IV of the accompanying detailed assessment document (Volume III). The following points about the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness prescriptions of the data dimension highlight several issues to be addressed prior to Paraguay’s subscription to the SDDS:

  • In the real sector, timeliness in data dissemination needs to improve as follows: (i) for the PPI from five weeks to one month after the end of the reference month; and (ii) for monthly production indices4 from nine to six weeks (one month is encouraged).

  • In the fiscal sector, data need to be disseminated as follows: (i) annual consolidated general government operations disaggregated by major components within six months after the reference year (quarterly data with a one-quarter lag are encouraged); and (ii) quarterly central government debt with a one-month lag (disaggregated by remaining maturity, residency, instrument, and currency of issue). Timeliness in data dissemination needs to improve for monthly data on the consolidated central government operations from about 75 days (for year-end data) to one month after the reference month.

  • In the financial sector, the depository corporations survey needs to be disseminated on a monthly basis with one-month lag; and (ii) daily data on short-term and long-term interest rates on government securities should also be disseminated.

  • In the external sector, the Template on International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity needs to be disseminated monthly with a one-month lag (one-week lag is encouraged).5

12. In addition, the SDDS encourages the dissemination of the following data missing for Paraguay’s macroeconomic statistics:

  • In the real sector, (i) quarterly sectoral balance sheets with a one-quarter lag and (ii) monthly or quarterly forward-looking indicators with a one-month or a one-quarter lag, respectively. In addition, the periodicity and timeliness in the dissemination of savings and gross national income needs to be improved from annual to quarterly data, and from a three-quarter to a one-quarter lag, respectively.

  • In the fiscal sector, (i) quarterly general government gross debt at nominal value (disaggregated by debt instrument, currency, and residence of the creditor; and for memorandum items, general government debt securities and loans classified by remaining maturity, and debt securities at market value) and (ii) debt-service projections for long- and short-term debt with a three-month lag.

  • In the financial sector, (i) monthly disaggregated claims on other residents sector with a one-month lag (broken down by other nonfinancial corporations and households/nonprofit institutions serving households (NPISH).

  • In the external sector, (i) quarterly total external debt (by currency, debt service payment schedule, and short-term remaining maturity) with a one-quarter lag;6 and (ii) quarterly BOP and IIP data disaggregated by BPM6 standard components with a one-quarter lag.

13. Section II provides a summary assessment by agency and dataset based on a four-point rating scale. This is followed by staff recommendations in Section III. Practices compared to the GDDS are summarized in Appendix I. The authorities’ response to this Report and a volume of detailed assessments are presented in separate documents.

Assessment by Agency and Dataset

14. Assessment of the quality of six macroeconomic datasets—national accounts, consumer price index, producer price index, government finance and public sector debt, monetary, and balance of payments and international investment statistics—were conducted using the May 2012 DQAF. In this section, the results are presented at the level of the DQAF elements and using a four-point rating scale (Table 1). Assessments of the prerequisites of data quality and assurances of integrity (Dimensions “0” and “1” of the DQAF) are presented by data-producing agency in Tables 2ac. For each dataset, the assessment of methodological soundness, accuracy and reliability, serviceability, and accessibility (Dimensions “2” to “5” of the DQAF) are shown in Tables 3af.

Table 1.

Data Quality Assessment Framework 2012—Summary Results

Key to symbols: O = Practice Observed; LO = Practice Largely Observed; LNO =Practice Largely Not Observed; NO = Practice Not Observed; NA = Not Applicable

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Practice observed: Current practices generally meet or achieve the objectives of DQAF internationally accepted statistical practices without any significant deficiencies. Practice largely observed: Some departures, but these are not seen as sufficient to raise doubts about the authorities’ ability to observe the DQAF practices. Practice largely not observed: Significant departures and the authorities will need to take significant action to achieve observance. Practice not observed: Most DQAF practices are not met. Not applicable: Used only exceptionally when statistical practices do not apply to a country’s circumstances.
Table 2a.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 0 and 1—Central Bank of Paraguay

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Table 2b.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 0 and 1—Ministry of Finance

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Table 2c.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 0 and 1—Directorate General of Statistics, Surveys, and Censuses

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Table 3a.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 and 5—National Accounts

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Table 3b.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 and 5—Consumer Price Index

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Table 3c.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 and 5—Producer Price Index

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Table 3d.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 and 5—Government Finance Statistics

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Table 3e.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 and 5—Monetary Statistics

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Table 3f.

Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 and 5—Balance of Payments Statistics

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15. In order to complement the Fund’s assessment of the quality of official statistics, and with the assistance of the CBP, the mission conducted a survey of key users of macroeconomic statistics. Questionnaires were sent to a broad range of users, who were asked to evaluate the coverage, periodicity, timeliness, accessibility, and overall quality of the official statistics. Seventy-three targeted users submitted responses for a response rate of 23 percent. The 2006 ROSC Data Module mission conducted a similar survey, where 40 targeted users submitted responses.

16. On a five point scale (1 = poor and 5 = excellent), the average rating for the overall quality of official statistics for all sectors was 3.8.7 Most respondents felt that the statistics were reliable and expressed satisfaction with their methodological soundness. Respondents also indicated that they were generally satisfied with the level of coverage and detail as well as the periodicity. However, many felt that timeliness needs to be improved.

17. Some respondents underscored that (i) an interactive online database where users could select time series and frequency would facilitate data accessibility; (ii) metadata are not easily accessible for most datasets; (iii) the base year of national accounts statistics is outdated; (iv) the informal sector activity is poorly measured; (v) the geographical coverage of the CPI should extend beyond the Greater Asunción Area; (vi) GFS should cover the entire public sector rather than only the central government; (vii) the coordination between the CBP and the MOF should improve, particularly on external debt statistics; (viii) BOP statistics do not capture cross-border trade and capital flows accurately; (ix) trade data are lacking good estimates of informal trade; and (x) data on direct investment abroad is unavailable and direct investment in Paraguay may be underestimated.

18. A more detailed analysis of the Users’ Survey and the tabulated results are included in Appendix V of the accompanying document Volume III: Detailed Assessments Using the Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF).

Staff’s Recommendations

19. Based on the review of statistical practices, discussions with the data-producing agencies, and responses from data users (see Appendix V of the Detailed Assessments volume), the mission has developed a set of recommendations. They are designed to further increase Paraguay’s adherence to internationally-accepted statistical methodologies and practices and their implementation would, in the mission’s view, enhance the analytical usefulness of the country’s macroeconomic statistics. Additional technical suggestions are included in the Detailed Assessments volume.

Cross-cutting recommendations

High Priority

  • Give higher priority to statistical functions and promote the adoption of a modern Statistics Law that clearly assigns responsibilities among data-producing agencies.

  • Provide adequate staff resources and other resources to assure the timely and sustainable compilation and dissemination of statistics in accordance with current international standards.

  • Improve and institutionalize data sharing and overall coordination between the different agencies collecting source data needed for macroeconomic statistics.

  • Establish regular mechanisms for enhancing intersectoral data consistency.

Other key recommendations

  • Update and maintain current the metadata available in national publications as well as the GDDS metadata posted on the IMF’s DSBB.

  • Develop a medium-term plan to subscribe to the SDDS by 2017.

  • Further enhance data and metadata accessibility of all datasets, including adequate formats for data dissemination and sector-specific contact information on the CBP and MOF websites.

  • Strengthen data revision policies and practices and make them known to the public.

National Accounts

High Priority

  • Update the 1994 base year of the national accounts to obtain an accurate and comprehensive portrait of the current economic situation.

  • Develop a plan for implementing the 2008 SNA as soon as possible, with a clear timetable and activities, detailing the tasks to meet new requirements, such as updating classifications and sectorization.

  • Develop and implement a program for conducting periodic economic surveys covering manufacture, services, and other relevant activities.

  • Maintain a regularly updated business register.

Other key recommendations

  • Use available data on prices and values of main inputs and outputs to apply the double deflation/inflation method on an annual basis.

  • Expand the coverage of the sample used for collecting tax data from the MOF to improve source data for the national accounts.

  • Improve the timeliness of the quarterly national accounts and of the monthly index of economic activity to take full advantage of their potential as inputs for policy-making decisions.

  • Compile supply and use tables in order to improve the consistency of national accounts estimates, with particular attention on estimates of non-observed activities, household final consumption expenditure, and changes in inventories.

  • Assess the use of chain-linked indices for improving volume measures of the national accounts.

Consumer Price Index

High Priority

  • Conduct a new Household Budget Survey to update CPI weights.

Other key recommendation

  • Conduct a study in order to investigate whether the inclusion of prices collected in areas not currently covered by the CPI will impact significantly on official inflation rates.

Producer Price Index

High Priority

  • Remove imports from PPI scope, in line with new international methodological standards.

Other key recommendations

  • Expand gradually the scope of the PPI to include, at first, exports and electricity and water supply and, at a second stage, construction and services;

  • Seek expert advice and promote staff training on PPI methodology.

Government Finance Statistics

High Priority

  • Assign immediately the responsibility for compiling and disseminating GFS to a specific unit of the MOF.

  • Assign by Law to the MOF the responsibility for compiling and disseminating GFS, including the obligation of public units to provide the necessary information and penalties for non-reporting.

  • Adopt the methodology of the GFSM 2001 and PSDSG to compile and disseminate GFS, and to that effect prepare a detailed migration plan and timetable.

  • Define for statistical purposes the institutional structure of the general government sector and public sector in accordance with international standards.

Other key recommendations

  • Compile GFS for the general government sector on a regular basis and disseminate on MOF website.

  • Disseminate the GFS currently compiled for levels of government broader than budgetary central government.

  • Disseminate detailed metadata for GFS on the MOF website. Update GDDS metadata.

  • Assign adequate human resources to compiling and disseminating GFS to the extent possible.

Monetary Statistics

High Priority

  • Expand the coverage of the ODC survey with the inclusion of the largest credit unions, which account for 15 percent of the deposits of the system.

  • Sign a formal agreement with the National Institute of Cooperatives (INCOOP) to establish regular submission of credit union data from the INCOOP to the CBP and to address other data sharing issues.

  • Disseminate the DC and the ODC surveys compiled by the CBP.

Other key recommendations

  • Compile and disseminate the OFC survey covering data of insurance corporations and other relevant financial intermediaries.

  • Improve the procedures for data cross-checking with GFS and BOP statistics.

  • Break up the accounts of other nonfinancial corporations from those of households and NPISHs. To this end, the chart of accounts of commercial banks and finance companies would need to be modified to reflect the necessary changes.

Balance of Payments Statistics

High priority

  • Develop a comprehensive plan to migrate the BOP and IIP statistics to BPM6, identifying actions and key target dates.

  • Supplement direct investment survey data with the information collected from the balance sheets and income statements to cover nonresponse. Prepare and maintain a register of direct investment enterprises in Paraguay.

  • Improve the adjustments in the estimation of data on foreign trade, revising the process to estimate goods leaving commercial free zones (“re-exports”) based on data provided by the Directorate General of Customs.

Other key recommendations

  • Conduct regular meetings (at least twice a year) with the MOF, to discuss issues of common interest, coordinate the submission of quarterly external debt data to the World Bank (QEDS), and ensure the consistency of fiscal and external sector statistics.

  • Disseminate BOP and IIP statistics with sectoral breakdown, in accordance with international standards.

  • Obtain information of the currency of denomination of financial assets and liabilities in order to improve treatment of exchange rate changes when BOP transactions are estimated from positions data.

Appendix I. Practices Compared to the GDDS Coverage, Periodicity, and Timeliness of Data

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Monthly economic activity index (IMAE).

Geographical coverage restricted to the Greater Asunción Area.

Coverage of the economy is not complete (e.g., electricity production is not covered).

The CBP compiles but does not disseminate a DC survey.

Government security rates are not disseminated.

Dissemination as part of a high-frequency (e.g., monthly) publication.

1

The External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users, 2013 (2013 EDSG) provides guidance to compile and disseminate external debt position data and debt service schedule.

2

At the time of writing this report, revised GDDS metadata were posted on the DSBB for all macroeconomic datasets.

3

Comprehensive information on the SDDS can be found on the DSBB at http://www.dsbb.imf.org.

4

Monthly economic activity index (IMAE).

5

The International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (2013) provides guidance to compile and disseminate these data.

6

The 2013 EDSG provides guidance to compile/disseminate prescribed and encouraged SDDS external debt data.

7

In the 2006 users’ survey, the overall rating for the quality of official statistics for all sectors was 3.2.